Here’s What Happend When This Student Couldn’t Handle First Day in USA Away From his Parents

Raghuram Sukumar Student Stories 38 Comments

emotional studentPeople dream about studying in USA for several years. They work hard preparing for Tests, spend ton of money with application process, visa interview, flight tickets.
But, handful of students can make it past all these stags and reach USA. Agreed?

You don’t tend to hear stories about students who decide that USA is too much to handle after going through all above stages and return to Indian within a week after going to USA.

I received an email from a reader about entering USA for the second time in same student visa. After exchanging couple of emails, I came to the real story.

I asked the person to share why he decided to go back to India within 1 week of going to USA

Enter Student..

I want to share my experience about how and why I left USA in one week after dreaming to go to US since 3 years.
After seeing many people going to USA and making fortunes and seeing my cousins posting their pictures in social networks about Las Vegas, buying costly cars which we only stare in india when that passes through you, I decided to go to USA.

Project : Going to USA

I started my process to go to USA in my 4th Year of Engineering. I went close to 10-12 consultancies to ask which universities would give me admission for my profile.

I applied for few universities but I was too late to get admission in those universities. I then graduated in 2011 at that time many of my friends got visa rejected which made me to think about applying to other countries, during that time I got a job in a MNC, which paid me good.

I then thought of working there and save some money for my masters after 2 years.  After 2 years, I stared my applying for universities. Received admission and I-20.

Then I went for the F1 student visa interview and got visa in my 1st attempt. Then booked my ticket and then I submitted my resignation to the company.

A Week Before going to USA

I used to go to all my relative houses proudly and also wanted to attend all those family functions which were happening those days to let all my relatives know that I’m going to USA.

Also made some relatives jealous who always had a feeling that their son and daughter are gifted by god to go to USA and earn lot of money and  good fortune. Though it is an other fact that what type of things they do over there to make their fortunes.

Parties

I used have parties with my friends, most of my close friends were in Canada. Used to to tell them my goal to be only 5-7 years over there earn some good money and come back to be with my family.
I had some sleepless nights and fear in mind thinking about myself and thinking about the pros & cons being in US.

  • One being the fact that I don’t know how to cook
  • During my 23 Years, I never left my home for more than one week I had this feeling that how would I survive there in a new atmosphere.
  • I have travel sickness in India (I used to throw-up during the long journeys in cars)
  • After getting the visa I got a feeling that I did a mistake leaving a job and going to USA for my Masters Degree.
  • People in USA gave me some facts and some questions marks for me to think whole night which made me to have some sleepless nights before one week.

Finally in USA

After coming outside the airport one of my university official was standing outside to pick up me and my other college students.

I along with a friend went to my friends gated community.

I was also new to a room atmosphere I never lived in bachelor rooms in India.

We first went to a room there I saw that the hall was filled with the baggage’s as many people came to the university.

Then, I finally got a room to stay for initial days. Even there the room was filled with baggage’s and there were 12 members sharing a 3 bedroom apartment.

I had a chat with those people in the room. They have said that, I did a mistake coming to USA leaving a job in India.

They also said that it will take 3 years for me to clear my loan and start my earning in USA. During that tenure I might earn 15 lakhs in INDIA.

Due to huge Indian student population, I might not even get a Part time job during my masters. And even H1B visa might be difficult as many students have come this year.

In this situation, I will be only having 17 months of OPT to earn money and leave USA.

First Day in USA 

This is my first day in USA  and I’m already thinking about going back to India.

I hardly slept for 4 hours that night thinking about all the above things

I had a cousin nearby whom I did not meet him since 8-9 years or even more, he came to see me.

I told him how I felt the initial day. He told me to come to his apartment. He is on a H1B working for a company nearby.

He used to stay in a 3 bedroom flat with 2 other friends. He made me comfortable and looked after me as if we were of a close relationship cousins. He gave me his own bedroom to stay (Thanks to him).

Home Sick

2-3 days passed by and I started missing my home, country, parents and friends.

I still hardly slept for 4-5 hours. I was thinking all night that I made a wrong decision coming to USA.

I even cried sometimes thinking about home. Parents thought I was selfish came to USA to earn money leaving my close one’s back in India.

After some days I became very home sick that I shared this with my parents.

After 2 days of pleasing them they asked me to come back to India even they had a feeling that money is not important when comes to leaving home country.

I have not registered for courses yet which made me make a decision as semester fee was not involved

I’m Going Back to India

I finally told my cousin that I have made my mind to leave USA as I was feeling homesick and I’m  having a feeling that I can make up good staying in India only.

The day before I made my mind to leave from USA my cousin along with his friend tried to change my mind.

Tried their best to make me change my mind (Thanks to them). But then I was not in a mood to change my decision.

I had a mixed feeling in the airport thinking about myself how I thought in India to come to USA to make a fortune and now leaving to India as a loser.

Long Flight to India

My father came to pick me up in the airport.

I did not know how should I show my face to him as 1 week ago he dropped me at the same airport wishing me good luck.

Felt very happy coming to home again . During my 1st week trust me, I was in my home hiding as if i had made some crime.

Even an open window made a sick. I felt like a loser wanted to be all alone for some time hiding in dark in my room. Thanks to my parents they made me feel like old days. I started going outside meeting friends again.

Planning to Come Back

Now, I want to go back to USA to start my masters next semester ( May 2014).

I left USA in January 2014. Because, I’m feeling like a loser. This is part of my life wherein no matter how much I earn in India. I will feel like a loser seeing myself in a mirror, which I now want to overcome that.

Now here is a situation. I can join my previous company in 2 months they will pay me 25-30k per month. And now I can go to USA again without attending for a new visa in 3 months.

Now I will defiantly have to make a decision in 2 months

This is my experience.

I hope every one felt the same during their initial days but I might have made a decision very quickly ( any how no regrets for that decision.)

[div class=”content-box-yellow”]

Please also share your views what have you done if you were in my position in USA and will you do now having a 25-30k job now in hand in India will you go back again? [end-div]

Thanks and Regards.

 

Raghu’s Comment’s

Sorry, to hear what happened to you.

Things you have described and experienced is common with students who lived with their parents all their lives (during schooling and college).

Indian Parents and Indian culture doesn’t don’t support being independent.  I’m a parent now.

Let me explain what I would have done, if I was a parent and never came to USA and what I would have done after living in USA.

If I were  in India:

I know it’s tough for you to be in USA. Don’t worry about expenses and what others will think about, if you come back to India. e will manage here. You can find a job and live with us.

Now:

I know it’s tough for you out there. But, life is full of such challenges. You have to face them with courage and overcome them. You have been there for just few days. Don’t worry about anything. Make good friends, register for courses and take one day at a time.

Discussion you had with students on Day 1, made you question your judgement and planted doubts in your mind. So, when you were told about H1B, OPT, Loan, the rosy picture you had about USA was wiped out in a day.

Problem : Your perception of life in USA was different from reality. When they didn’t match, coupled with the fact that you lived with your parents all along made things worse.

Remember This

Studying abroad makes you a better, stronger person.

Yes, it will take 3 years or more to pay your loan.

Students apartment will be messy and will not have things that you have in your home back in India. You can’t expect your apartment to be clean or even have a bed.

You might have to sleep on the floor or sleeping bed.

But, that’s the type of life that will make you independent and stronger.
lolly daskal

I have another article in draft written by a PhD student. He talk’s about how he faced similar problems and tips to overcome such challenges ( cooking, new friends, college, finances, washing clothes, cleaning bathroom,etc) from his perspective.

I would suggest you come to USA in May Semester and face the challenge.  Don’t listen to what others will say.  You know where you want to be in your life, you have your goals, dreams. Work towards reaching that goals.

Outcome of this article

I’m expecting two kinds of views

  • Positive : I realize this could happen to be and I will be ready to overcome any challenges
  • Negative :  This is really discouraging, I’m having my doubts about studying abroad.

I hope you are going to take this on the positive side and see the bigger picture.

Now, you can comment and help this student decide on what he should be doing next.

Comments

  1. Well, same thing happened with me, but unlike you I have stayed away from my family and never felt homesick. But in USA maybe because of culture shock and misexpectations I felt the same way you did. I came back after experiencing one month of graduate college. It’s very hard to make American friends (real friends) there. They only talk to you in class and project groups. Plus I found people there generally fake ( with their fake smiles and thank yous) . I am also in same dilemma whether to go back or not. But it used to feel very bad there . I don’t know why.

  2. I know this comment is one year too late but I could’nt resist from voicing my thoughts about this. I don’t know what decision the student in question here finally took but regardless of that this situation provides ample reason as to why there are articles on HSB like https://www.happyschools.com/options-after-masters-in-usa/ . Such articles( like the one I have provided link to) and many more on HSB have received a lot of flak in the comments section regarding their relevance and are accused of being discouraging to prospective students. To all of such comments this student’s experience stands as a vindication as to why students need to know the reality of USA which so called consultants and relatives abroad mostly never reveal.

    Just gathering info on GRE/TOEFL,universities and visa interview (all of which are not even the beginning of the battle) is not enough. Knowing the ground realities gives students critical data early on in their career plans and allows them to make a calm and calculated decision. This will save everyone (including parents) a lot of heartache and disappointment and put the student on the right career path ( whichever it might be USA or otherwise).

    1. Author

      @Prithivinarayan – When I started reading your comment, I was like here we go, one more flak comment. Then I realized the value you add. Thanks. People don’t realize that I’m not your typical guy to paint “Grass is Always Green on the Other Side”. I’m the person who says, “Grass is Green on the other side, but you have to water it when you go to the other side”.

  3. These kinds of posts give the real life picture. I hope Raghu sir would post more stories like this and inspire us……..

  4. Even after reading this, I would still like to go to the “Land of Oppertunities”. I know it will be tough and things can get really messedup. But I want to take a chance. God forbid! But who knows..I might fail in my endevours, but if I don’t take a chance, I will never know. As Raghu said, it will indeed make me a stronger person if I face these challenges head on and overcome them. These sorts of experiences count for a lot in the long run.

  5. Hi Raghu,
    This post gives me practical picture of what I will /might go through during masters in USA.I have applied for Fall-2014.Currently I am working in an MNC away from my home,parents.I get to see them once in 4-6 months.So I guess I will be able to tackle homesickness to certain extent.But the fear of living among unknown people in totally strange place is driving me mad.Somehow I am trying to prepare myself for this.What else I can do at the moment.

  6. Hi
    Here Only your EMOTIONS are playing.
    Only Question u shud ask urself : R U academically very strong? atleast 70 to 90 % scorer
    Then become emotionally very stronger and go ahead. This golder opportunity everybody will not get

  7. Hi Guy,
    do not listen to what people told you. As the blog owner mentions, we all have our own goals. I also see your written english is very good.

    Maybe you can answer the following question:

    – do you want to live in India and marry there ? and have kids there ?
    or
    – do you want to live in US, then marry and have kids there ?

    Following your answer, we can go on. You have to project in the middle to far future.

  8. Hello My friend,
    What is happening to you,it is happening to you all person who set his foot outside his family.
    Remember the Quote by a philosopher- “A man may leave his humble abode searching for all answers in world,but,he has something pulling him back,holding something like an memory,a reason for him to turn back and run in direction which he travelled,but if He stood there and had an moment to think;If he moved forward he is an Gentleman,an adventurer, a travelling man who seek wisdom but seldom if he turns back he is just a man,playing it safe and afraid of either winning or losing…

    It’s not I am judging you my friend,but if you pushed on you would have made an tremendous joyful experience for yourself..You will meet people,some strange,some known,some advice you good and some do bad,some Help you give you moral support,some scare the day out of you but in the end of all the advice and crying it’s just a part but whole lot of Judgement live inside you to decide,What it will be,how it will be!!…

    You are kind of person who has a motto live to fight another day,not kind like fight to end yourself..Always remember Logic and Emotion can combined to give you Victory..

    I wish you a happy future and good luck..

    And here is quote from Theodore Roosevelt-
    “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”..

    Take care and have a good day..

    1. Author

      Ganesh – good to see you after long time. Very good quote from the philosopher.

      1. Thanks Raghu..Impressed with new Blog layout.
        “WE ALL MAKE MISTAKE,HUMAN IS FLAWED IN WAYS BEYOND COMPREHENSION BUT IT IS WHAT MAKES US RULE OVER THE ANIMALS.”-Charles Darwin.

  9. Lemme quote uncle Henry Skinner from “A good year”

    Uncle Henry Skinner: You’ll come to see that a man learns nothing from winning. The act of losing, however, can elicit great wisdom. Not least of which is, uh… how much more enjoyable it is to win. It’s inevitable to lose now and again. The trick is not to make a habit of it.

    Hope it helps

  10. You have proved that you are really immature and one practical idea would have been that you should have left your home town first and lived somewhere else in India for sometime and then headed for another country in the first place. Wasted parents’ hard earned money.

    Hope you are confident enough at least now.

    All D Best…..Cheers.

  11. Hi every one.This is some what close to my situation.Infact it is exactly the same.
    I am the only son to my parents and the only one among my entire relatives to step into US.I was with a mindset to have long drives,go to pubs and freak out like hell but the time i got visa

  12. Decide on one thing and follow your dream.

    If you wish to study in USA, then go for MS. Choose a small university in Rural town where Indian students are less and you will have a shot at campus jobs and where cost of living is less so that you can afford things like own room, car. Cooking your food is actually good, will help you in India also.

    If you are happy with your job and the money which you are earning, then continue with your job and Dont come to USA. Remember that if your goal is just to experience American life, after some years, your company might send you to some foreign country on job visa etc. Many people in USA came directly because their company sent them there.

    Struggle is everywhere-India or USA. Unless you have a Government Job or Family Business in India, those private jobs in india are also unpredictable. Coming to US for MS is a good experience, final decision should be yours.

  13. Well…it’s impossible fr me to be in that situation.I am not attached to my family. Plus, m very extrovert.
    I would have gone to college, ’cause money and job don’t matter to me. It’s only education that matters. Job, cars, money, e.t.c. r even outta my consideration.

  14. Set your goal in life. Don’t go with superficial world, emotions and show off feelings : The higher education in US and India are totally different. If you are hungry for creative learning, higher standards of knowledge and innovations, you must go US. Please remember all universities are not equal (choose among level 1 or II universities). After completing the education you should choose if you will stay in US or India. There is no harm in working in US if you have financial issues and you need to payback the bank loans. If you are fortunate, possess good grades and circumstances you can be picked up in campus recruitment with H1 visa. At early stage professional opportunities in India are not creative or innovative. US setup is much better…Accept challenges in life..it is up to you what you want from your life…

  15. Grow up dear.
    Nothing remains forever (even sadness or even happiness).
    Face the challenges and get control over yourself.

    Regards

  16. I think students who stayed with their parents till their bachelors face such kind of homesickness i felt the same in my bachelors when i was away from home but thank goodness i was only two hours from my home i used to stay in hostel but whenever i felt to go back o could that made me independent first day in USA was just a normal day for me staying away from my parents so i did not have any problems in fact this is my second semester now and i have shaped my life the way i want it

  17. One does not have to leave his country to be homesick. When I moved to other city 8 hours from my hometown for my engineering, I felt homesick for at least one year.

  18. Hai , my name is Aravind reddy, I am from Hyderabad, well to start with I have done my btech in 2006 and left to Australia in 2006 and done my masters in materials engg by 2008 and then I did not find so many opportunities and worked in fast food store as a manager. But, still not luck with my PR in Australia, and left Australia in 2011 dec. After I came to India I was felt lost and no opportunities for my study in India though. So I made my mind to study in USA though I face challenge that I have to go my student life all again which explained in this article.
    But this challenge dosent even a challenge to me. Because by now all my age people Frds already well settled in USA and bit me as student – this kiss in my mind.
    Then I got USA stamping for Saginaw valley state university. Michigan- doing masters in energy and materials and 1 st sem finished and this is my second sem and got job in university as RA with my proff and this is first RA in college it seems. So life is tough just see that toughness as an opportunity. Life never will be smooth. So that’s my experience.

    1. Just think about me that why any one after already spent student life in Australia and again wanna face same in USA.
      But I made this decision that I want to prove myself what I lost in Australia. So don’t listen other experiences and make to connect with yours. Every one book of life is diffirent with other, so write ur book by urself not by others.
      You know what I married after I got visa and now I am living with my wife in an apartment with out sharing with others, now think how student life with wife would be. She is on F 2 visa now.

  19. Thank You every one for your advises

    I am planning to go back for may intake but i am really confused what to tell the officer at the PE. I am also thinking to transfer the university after going to US , will that be a problem during opt if a student differs admission for next intake and transfers for a new univ

  20. Hi, I’m from Mexico City. I also used to live with my mother till’ 23. My situation was not to go outside my home for studing but for working. I had to move to another state in Mexico, very different to the place I come. It was a very small town, with no places to go out, no movie theaters, no nothing. It was very hard, but if you stay then you grow up, and learn to be at your own. I was applying for universities in the USA. I have been accepted by two now, i have to be there this next September. I know, always to go out of home it’s difficult at the beginning but ones you move on with the first days then you will be ok. Stop thinking in “if I”. I don’t understand about the coin of your country, but if you are pretty sure that you will be earning more money afther masters degree, then it doesn’t matter how much money you could earn in your country while you are spending that time in school, because at the end you will be recovering that money for very much in the future. I think you have to confront and be very strong with the challenges that you will have. When something it’s hard for me, I always think like this: “I’m not the only one on this world that had this experiences, and I won’t be the last one”, “if thousands before me could do it, why not me?, what’s different?”. I have a friend that is stuyind at the university I will be studying soon, this guy it’s admirable, he didn’t have any peny in his poket, and he went to the school without any scholarship, not even a chance to rent a room or eat. He waited for people to go out of school in the afternoon, to put chairs together and sleep, he woke up very early for so many days before people came to school in order to have the chance to clean himself in the bathroom. Nobody knew about his situation until somebody saw him and told to school authorities. Now he has scholarship from the university. He is a bit better now. I believe that if this guy could deal with all this situation and also with missing his home in Mexico City where he had averything and also his family, well I think if you or I or anybody that goes to study to the USA, an have the advantage of having for paying a rent or having a room, it doesn’t matter how the room is, I think we all of us, have to fight for our dreams, always, defiancing all the challenges that we could find during our way to those dreams. 😀

  21. I had been through the same feeling as you did and I was thinking about not coming to USA right after getting my visa (because of difficulty in getting job, home sick, unable to cook). The decision is totally up to you. If you are adventurous and want to become better person then you can come to USA, or what I would recommend is to stay back in India. Don’t listen to what other people say.

  22. Come back to USA and start a new chapter in your life. It is how everyone feel in the initial days after coming here but eventually you will get accustomed to it and forget about that once the course starts. And do not listen to people who bad mouth about the future, it may be difficult to get a job but its not impossible. Spend the remaining time with your family and friends and come back here with full heartedly to live your dream. What are you still thinking about, start booking your flight ticket.. Best of Luck..

  23. One more thing- Consider changing the university if possible. Go to a place where there are not many Indians where it will be easier to get part time jobs etc. Also this time do your research thoroughly. Find out if what those students were saying about H1B, etc is true. Find out how good that university is for academics and how easy it is to find a job after graduation.
    Also change your mindset that you are going to the USA to earn money. You will earn money but right now you are going to study and get a good education. The job and money part comes later.

    Consider all these factors and decide. Once again do your research properly. Nothing should surprise you when you go back there if at all you decide that you are going back. Don’t get bogged down by guilt/regret etc. We are all humans and we make mistakes.

  24. Living can be tough and ruthless anywhere man!! Don’t make that a reason to abort your chase 2 ur dream.
    Well, I am a nobody but still may be I can share my story!! I nurtured this dream for 2 years(approx) , did a LOT(literally) of preparations ranging from high end studies, to managing household chores even though I had my mum in the house…I forced her to let me do all dat… But I had a serious family problem, VERY SERIOUS and its not about funds,not about loans or my parents missing me but something very “unusual” and if I departed … in short… my mum would not have survived(AGAIN, its not the emotional thing) and I could not let that happen, coz whatever I am today its bcoz of her and when she needs me I cant just go…even though she wanted me to go. THAT , my friend is a reason…NOT homesickness… Good Luck Brother, u r much much “abled” than me to carry on!!

  25. Feeling highly shocked to see his weak will power to survive “after” undergoing all the process to get into US Univ!! While taking ANY decision in life one must have some level of imagination how the situation would be in the due course of time, and unless there are some extraordinary circumstances one should not leave in the half way!! Lord Krishna alerted Arjuna when such moment occured and he decided to abandon Kurukshetra!! coming back is not expected at least till u take courses and taste the life there! ur decision was based on the happenings around you rather than what u have imagined & depicted in mind! always trust in the picture ur mind draws because it is the one which ultimately comes real! surroundings keep changing from time to time!! ALL THE BEST DUD!

  26. Hsb’s answers it all.. for the student.

    anyways, the point is lacking individuality and not being able to thinking independently.. Has put the student in this kind of situation.
    firstly the student has to realize it is okay to go through some kind of pressure during the first few days of being in USA. But looks like he has gone through alot of stuff to make it to USA.. How come how someone got into second thoughts on the first day itself

    coming to USA is not about making a point to relatives/friends /family.. Its about an individual’s determination to achieve a degree from a global institution and experience some exposure. Money,visa etc comes later.. U get good grades.. U are a graduate with potential ofcourse you will be hired at the end of the day..
    giving your best for the academics

    1. Giving your best in the academics and gaining exposure and professional experience as much as possible should be the primary drive and rest of the stuff will be taken care by these things…

      it is difficult but definitely doable…

      its good that you are giving thoughts to overcome your fears and trying to come back .. Good luck with that..

  27. I agree with Raghu. Nothing comes for easy. Its difficult for people who have always lived with their parents. Basically you don’t try to learn something when you are being spoon fed. Even I have lived a large part of my life with parents as the youngest in the family.. like a pampered child but I learnt when I left home to work for the first time. It was difficult initially but gradually when you get along with the life, it becomes easy. Again every individual is different though.
    Studying in US gives you are totally different perspective to look at life in general. I just graduated this December and today got my diploma in hand and really feel so good about myself. I feel that I am better person now. My suggestion to the students who feel the way this person did is to look at the bigger picture. Definitely this side there are challenges, struggles and a tough life but the other side is definitely fruitful. please don’t give up. Don’t follow other’s path and what they say. Create your own path.
    As Raghu mentioned in the last post : “”Nothing in life that’s worth anything is easy”” and this is definitely worth it. All the best !!

  28. This article mirrors reality .I would suggest to go back and face the challenge . Life is tough . One thing has to be kept in mind . The only way to solve anything problematic is to get through that and overcome it ,rather than hiding out of fearing . Backing down can only make things worse . Once we face such a thing and if we tackle it ,we gain some sort of confidence to face such problems in the future .

  29. I would strongly recommend that you go back to US for your next semester. I know your experiences have not been very good, but you need to do this to prove something to yourself, not to others. If you remain in India, this guilt might haunt you. Most of international students can experience this feeling. Don’t base your opinion on someone’s thoughts. The key is to remain busy once you are in school. Make friends (not just Indian). Once your semester starts, study in library instead of studying at your apartment. Spend more time in computer labs, community activities (talk to international student services about how you can be involved). Just try to be as busy as possible, so that you don’t waste time thinking about mindless things. I bet these thoughts will go away in a couple of months. The best part is that you will be more confident of yourself. At the same time, do not think the struggle is over. The more time you spend discovering things yourself, more mature you’ll become. It is an everyday struggle in US, unlike India (sometimes). Stay active and have your task list ready for the upcoming week, and you’ll be able to avert a lot of problems that students face in initial semesters. People will paint you with all kind of experiences. Don’t get demotivated. Instead, use these experiences to be prepared to face them head-on. Good-luck braving this time and more difficult times to come. Hope to see your next post after you are here.

  30. All the best dude. Everyone faces such a situation one time or the other. The key is to never stop trying, as you are doing.

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